Rochdale refers to the British movement launched in 1844 as the The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, the first consumer’s co-op and a model for modern day co-ops like the Park Slope food co-op et al. You can find a copy of the Rochdale principles here: http://www.weaversway.coop/pages/rochdale-principles

 

To be honest, there was little chance that the co-op’s in Woodridge or in Park Slope could have ever become the dominant mode of production in the United States. They were and are primarily useful for getting a better deal for consumers and small producers like the chicken farmers in Woodridge. The larger they become, the more they follow the dictates of the marketplace, which revolves around profit. The Mondragon co-op, the largest in the world, treats its newer workers not as well as the senior ones. What did Orwell say in “Animal Farm”? Some animals are more equal than others?

 

That being said, I got a kick out of what Karl Marx said about the Rochdalers in a footnote to chapter 13 of V. 1 of Capital:

 

That Philistine paper, the Spectator, states that after the introduction of a sort of partnership between capitalist and workmen in the “Wirework Company of Manchester,” “the first result was a sudden decrease in waste, the men not seeing why they should waste their own property any more than any other master’s, and waste is, perhaps, next to bad debts, the greatest source of manufacturing loss.” The same paper finds that the main defect in the Rochdale co-operative experiments is this: “They showed that associations of workmen could manage shops, mills, and almost all forms of industry with success, and they immediately improved the condition of the men; but then they did not leave a clear place for masters.” Quelle horreur!